Zajac Nights, formerly known as Novus Nights, took over the Vancouver Club on Saturday, May 3rd, drawing out 700 plus guests and raising over $100,000 through ticket sales and an impressive silent auction. Proceeds benefitted Zajac Ranch, a foundation that hosts summer camps for children with chronic, life threatening, and/or debilitating conditions.
Touted as Vancouver’s most exciting philanthropic event, the organizing team did not fail to deliver “A Year In A Night” with holiday themes impressively presented throughout the club’s five floors.
From the Saint Patrick’s Day room where gambling and Irish whiskey was aplenty, to the calming Winter Wonderland room where guests were whisked away from rowdiness into a tranquil setting with violinists, snowflakes and varied hues of blue.
The Valentine’s Day room offered a sensuous experience with a plethora of sweet treats, an Absolut Elyx ice sculpture, and hearts adorning the bar and hanging from the ceiling. The lounge seating complemented the theme and sat adjacent to the DJ and two “exotic” dancers – perfect for sipping and ogling. Hedonism, baby! Alas, the ever-so sought after chocolate fountain was nowhere to be found…
On the ground level floor, Caesars were flowing and servers circulated with “Canadian” canapés in the Canada Day room. A variety of bands and musicians set the tone for the room as they performed in front of a Canadian flag backdrop. In a typical Canadian concert style, most guests stood and politely mingled rather than dancing.
In the King’s Day room…wait, what is King’s Day? Apparently, it’s a national holiday in the Netherlands (as of 2014) that celebrates solidarity amongst the people. Every individual is on the same playing field and there are no hierarchies. Basically, everyone should feel and party as if a King (or a Queen!). Naturally, in this room there was Heineken, orange décor, crowns, and a DJ, because you can’t have a party without music, and because dancing can unite people? If there is enough beer involved, I suppose it can. Considering it was a Dutch room, I was surprised there were no bikes, pannenkoeken or people “Proosting” with advocaat.
The VIP Mardi Gras room was held on the top floor, sheltered from the rain, where the DJ and bongo player encouraged guests to dance as beads were exchanged between guests. Clothes remained on, surprisingly. Thanks for keeping it somewhat classy Vancouver. It was also the only place where you could get a well-crafted cocktail as Glenlivet’s brand ambassador Keith Trusler poured a selection of Glenlivet’s finest.
The night concluded with a massive party in the New Year’s Eve room, where “midnight” was celebrated on the hour, every hour, from the start until it wrapped up at 1AM. The disco ball hanging from the ballroom ceiling glittered as the crowd repeatedly counted down and kissed their partner. At this point in the night, drinks were flowing at an impressive rate, connections were being made, and guests were in full on dance mode.
Carmen Zajac, President of the Foundation, and Mel Zajac, Zajac Ranch Founder and Chairman of the Board, were in attendance and graciously thanked guests for being there during a formal speech at the beginning of the night. During this time, Rob Macdonald of Macdonald Development Corp received the Zajac Young Professionals’ “Raising The Bar” award, speaking to the life long influence that Zajac Ranch founder Mel Zajac had on him.
In addition to the speeches and award ceremony, three Zajac Ranch campers (Evan Pollard Kennedy, Stephanie Dela Rosa, and Christian Martinez) performed a rendition of O Canada alongside traditional piper and singer Amanda Wood. Pulling the strings of guests’ hearts, the children also shared their favourite camp experiences and thanked the crowd for their support.
This year marked the 11th Anniversary of the Zajac Ranch for Children and the 50th year of Mel Zajac’s (formal) philanthropic giving to the community. The foundation aims to fund 500 children ($1,500 per) from across Canada, predominantly BC, through their “Send A Kid To Camp” campaign. This campaign features four key spring/summer events including Zajac Nights (May 3) and Ranch Day (April 26).
Upcoming Zajac Ranch fundraisers:
- June 18th: 50th Annual Zajac Golf Classic at the Richmond Country Club
- August 13th: Annual White Spot Pirate Pak Day
For more photos from Zajac Nights check out my set on Flickr.